Holiday stress: the yoke's on you!
There is no denying the elevated number of people who get either stressed out or depressed or both, when comes holiday season.
Many factors play out in this, and my aim is not to over-simplify, here, only to offer a perspective to possibly lighten these negative feelings. Possibly let go of them for ever.
First of all, here in the North hemisphere, it’s winter, long nights and short days, which affects our internal chemistry, so a little artificial full spectrum lights are probably in order… and will help a lot. (Really. It’s simple and it does make a difference for all of us being very sensitive to lack of sunlight).
But mostly, we are under a whole lot of pressure, even when not aware of it, from all the media, and for an extended period of time… We are under holiday attack!
Like, absolutely every possible commerce out there trying to push Christmas down our throat starting mid October! And maybe it’s just me, but it feels like it’s worse every year!
Whatever the celebration, it’s an excuse to try and sell us something, many things, any thing, by pushing emotional buttons and make us obligated to enter the madness of it all. Push push push...
Above all, the end of the year holidays really pushes the hardest.
Not to mention traditions, family habits, memories, expectations, obligations, peer pressure… We either feel that we should be up to it and deliver, or we feel left out, and isolated.
Sometimes we might feel isolated while being part of it…
Like an ox under the yoke, many of us will stubbornly plow forward, through emotions, fatigue, and bottomless lists of obligations, trying to reach the impossible goal to pull off the perfect Hallmark holiday. No matter what the cost.
But what if we were to take a few steps aside, and pause…?
What if we used this time of the year to only do what is truly meaningful to us, and take the liberty to question what we really need and give ourselves the gift of listening to our own wisdom?
Peace of mind is everything.
When we are at peace we are a gift to everyone around us, so that can’t be chalked up as selfish!
Some of us with family and young kids might feel that there is no way out, and it has to get done, but really, it can be scaled down. And be lovely.
Joy does not come from a frenzy of consumption.
Happiness and lovely feelings don’t require to go into debt (some people are still paying for last year’s extravaganza!).
Celebrating is not about over-consuming.
Celebrating is not about piles of gifts.
Not about getting tipsy.
Not about garlands and glitter and wilting trees.
Celebrating is about being present and joyful for an occasion.
Presence is a gift in and by itself, when it’s sincere.
Togetherness can be deep and simple. Kindness has no price tag.
There are thousands of ways to give, without entering the commercial circus.
As well, wishing to be quiet and simply not celebrate at all is truly fine…
Following our deepest desire is a liberating choice, when we’d rather not participate to anything.
Meanwhile, if we wish all of that would be over with and for the noise to fade away, we can always take this time to turn off most of the blaring incentives, and enter a delicious period of quiet coziness and radical self-care…
We can choose to have lots of tea and a wonderful book to read, stay in bed longer, bundle up and go for walks... We might enjoy to go and write, make art, cook with abandon, or take a few days vacation in a quiet place… we don’t even have to mind the calendar if we don’t want to. After all, we can just consider, that it is winter, a season, organic, natural, eternal... A time for roots and burrows. We can decide, in and by ourselves, what is right for us. If hibernating feels right... then that's what is best to do, as long as we choose and enjoy it. If celebrating feels good... by all means, let's enjoy each other and be merry.
We are the worst culprits when it comes to pressure and conformity.
We really put the bar where it is.
And that is what really matters here: expectations can be let go of.
That’s an internal choice. That’s a decision to be free.
Nothing loud. Just a shift, inside.
But a powerful one.
At any time, no matter how long I’ve done, thought, efforted, participated, complied, conformed… I can decide to not do so any more; and literally give myself permission to walk to my own drum.
It’s perfectly all right.
By following my own wisdom, and honoring my needs, not only I’ll be a lot more relaxed and send out greater vibes, but I also will be an inspiration for all of those who did not dare doing so, yet.
A little shift.
A little hinge on which the heavy door of emotional misery can be closed for ever.
Of course it works for all kinds of situations and every single time we feel obligated to go against ourselves, to please the beast of expectation.
But particularly now, when it seems that we would fail if we were not adding to the motion, not submitting to more debt, not jollying our garden with energy greedy reindeers.
Withdrawing from society’s seasonal frenzy, if one feels called to, is not failing.
It’s just honoring what’s important for us rather than heeding what we’re told.
The kid in each of us knows how to do this. :)
And if it is truly what we love to do, let’s celebrate!
Either way, the yoke doesn’t have to be worn.
We can do it exactly what feels right.
And be true. Be free. Be in the moment. Remember, the one who needs you the most... is you.
I wish you peace, and true, deep self-nurturing. Always. Much love. Emmeline